Arkansas Man Scales White House Fence

No, Bill Clinton wasn’t trying to break into his old house. Just some kook looking for attention, apparently.

Arkansas Man Scales White House Fence (AP)

A man from Arkansas scaled the fence surrounding the White House Sunday while President Bush was inside and was immediately captured by Secret Service officers. Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry identified the jumper as Shawn A. Cox. Cherry said Cox was being charged with unlawful entry and was expected to appear Monday in U.S. District Court. Cox has previously come to the attention of the Secret Service, Cherry said, but he would not provide details.

Cherry said he did not know where Cox was from in Arkansas or why he wanted to get on the White House grounds. He did not have a weapon, Cherry said.

Bush was home at when Cox climbed the fence on the northeast side of the property around lunchtime. Uniformed Secret Service officers stood by with guns drawn while an agent escorted Cox to a guard station. Cox was wearing a sweatshirt, he was unshaven and his pants were wet and dirty from where he was brought to the ground. He did not answer a journalist’s question about why he jumped the fence.

If you’re going to be on national television–and, one way or another, you’re going to be on TV if you climb the White House fence–you think you’d at least clean up a bit. For that matter, if the Secret Service had run into this guy before, you think they’d have a file on him that, as a minimum, listed his hometown.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Turns out there’s a few thousand of them.

  2. Herb says:

    I guess thats one way for a democrat to get in the White House.

  3. Baron says:

    I found a July, 2003 article in the Air Force Times listing a Shawn A. Cox. In the article, he was scheduled to receive a promotion in the coming year.

    If this is the same guy, the Secret Service could easily have a file on him, especially if he said some stupid stuff along the way…

    Could the man jumping the White House fence be a disgruntled vet? Sure. Why not?

    That may explain the unwillingness to reveal his reasons. You certaily don’t want to start a movement of disgruntled vets jumping the White House security fences.

  4. Anderson says:

    Wow, I feel so guilty. I recognize this guy. My friends and I were drinking at a D.C. bar, and I said rather loudly that we wouldn’t be torturing prisoners and ruining the budget if only the guy from Arkansas were in the White House. And this guy got up and said “All right!” and walked out. We thought nothing of it at the time ….

  5. Eugene says:

    Maybe he should try another way for getting attention – eat a lot of spiders or something even more stupid